Sony 2006 Pre-E3 Press Conference

Reading the reports from the pre-E3 Sony press event, I can’t help but be derisive. What has struck me about the PS3 announcements, is how Sony truly is catering to today’s gamers and today’s market. The same could be said of Microsoft as well.

In a recent article in Time Magazine (via The Gaming Hobo), the author writes:

The hard-core gaming community is extremely vocal–they blog a lot–but if Nintendo kept listening to them, hard-core gamers would be the only audience it ever had.

In the same article, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata says:

[Wii] was unimaginable for them. And because it was unimaginable, they could not say that they wanted it. If you are simply listening to requests from the customer, you can satisfy their needs, but you can never surprise them.

Sony’s announcements for the PS3 had few surprises. Even the announcement of tilt motion sensing controls in the PS3 controller was unsurprising because Nintendo had already beat them to it months ago.

Price point: Either $500 or $600. There had been news, months ago, from financial analysts who predicted that the PS3 could run as much as $600. The difference between $500 and $600? For $500 you get a smaller hard drive (20 GB versus 60 GB), no WiFi, no multi-memory card inputs, high definition/Blu-Ray no HDMI. Basically, buy the $500 version if you’re an idiot.

Graphics: Just as good as the Xbox 360, which was expected as well. I have no doubt that the graphics will blow everyone away.

Controller: In response to the negative reaction to the “boomerang” controller, Sony have changed the design of the PS3 controller to… Essentially the same controller we’ve had since 1995, but it’s silver. New features: tilt sensing, acceleration, trigger buttons. It still has that uncomfortable fragmented D-pad, the bane of those who enjoy fighting games. I read somewhere that Nintendo has the patent on the cross-shaped D-pad, so I never expected this aspect to change.

It’s lighter because Sony removed the DualShock vibration technology. Sony say it’s because DualShock interferes with tilt controls, but the lack of DualShock is more likely due to Sony’s loss in a patent infringement lawsuit with Immersion Corporation. Microsoft were also sued, but they settled out of court.

One cannot help but compare the functionality of the PS3 controller with the Wii controller, since they have similar features. The consensus from gamers and commentators seems to be that the PS3 tilt controls seem tacked-on and it was added to compete with the Wii. The tilt controls will not be a central feature to the PS3, though there will be a few games that use it.

This move to imitate is not new for Sony (though imitation is not new for any company, so…). After Nintendo introduced the analogue stick to their N64 controller, Sony released a new controller for the PS1 that featured analogue sticks. After the release of the Sony controller with dual analogue sticks, Nintendo introduced the Rumble Pak, a battery-operated add-on to the N64 controller which vibrated in response to a videogame. In response to that, Sony released another version of their analogue controller, this time with DualShock vibration feedback.

Games: I definitely want to play Tekken 6, and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. I haven’t seen anything else that is of interest to me, but E3 has not begun, so it’s too soon to call.

I never planned to buy the PS3 at launch. There have been too many problems with Sony first-run hardware, specifically with the PS2 and the PSP. The other factor is the insanely high price point. $600 for the system, plus the cost of games at $60 each? Get real.

I’m not going to buy a Wii at launch either. The only game I am interested in for the Wii is Metroid Prime 3, though as I said again, E3 has not begun and it’s too soon to say for sure.

I can’t remember a console that I have actually had at launch. Possibly the NES, but it was a gift to my brother and I. I have bought every other console at least a year after launch, if not more than that.

EDIT: PS3 Lie Watch at UK: Resistance. Some of the comments are hilarious.

  5 comments for “Sony 2006 Pre-E3 Press Conference

  1. 9 May 2006 at 08:58

    I can’t believe how underwhelming Sony’s press conference was. Although we were shown ‘some’ games we are no closer to knowing which ones will be launch titles. But presuming some of them will be the selection is looking pretty poor. Sony really need to pull something out of the bag at launch time. It’s about the games guys!

    This whole multi-SKU thing is bizarre too, especially the lack of HDMI support on the standard, not ‘cheap’, version. It’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo and Microsoft respond.

  2. 9 May 2006 at 09:13

    I bought a PS2 at launch, because the generational shift seemed so great then. With this generation, however, the jump seems much more incremental than before. As far as graphics are concerned, I think games such as Half Life 2 on the Xbox, God of War on the PS2, and Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube have shown that the current generation of consoles is more than capable of being “good enough”.

    I may get a Wii at launch, because the virtual console and innovative controller intrigue me. However, it is rumored to be priced at $250, a far cry from what Sony is asking. I do not see how the average person will be willing to spend $500 (much less $600) to get on Sony’s sequel train. They do have a trump card with the exclusive titles (God, that MGS4 trailer sure looked great), but that won’t be enough to woo me this time.

  3. 9 May 2006 at 09:19

    Actually, both price points will have Blu-Ray (see http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060509/tc_nm/expo_sony_dc_6), the difference is the more expensive version will have HDMI output. You can still have HD output without HDMI, using component video, which is what I assume the cheaper one will use.

    There is at least one PS3 launch titles I’m excited about.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060509/tc_nm/expo_squareenix_dc_1

    Being a big RPG fan, I’m psyched for FFXIII (though where’s our XII already??). I’m gonna be a naysayer and admit I’m gonna have to see it to believe on the Wii controller thing. Wielding my controller like a sword may be just a bit too much for me.

    I’m most interested in RPGs, so whatever console has the best ones, there I am.

  4. 9 May 2006 at 11:21

    I will possibly get a Wii at launch. I may get a PS3 or 360 when they don’t have prices in the stratosphere and features which will require me to get an HDTV to enjoy.

  5. 17 May 2006 at 00:44

    Pre-E3 Conferences: Worldwide Reaction…

    This will be updated as things go along detailing reactions as and when I read them. I'll be posting my own thought later on this evening, BST.

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